Changing Social Work Students’ Perceptions of the Role of Government in a Policy Class

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Understanding student political attitudes—feelings about government and perceptions of its role—has long been of interest to social scientists. One factor that may influence political attitudes is belief in a just world, a complex psychological construct well established in the literature. Our study explores changes in social work students’ perception of a supportive role of government and their beliefs in a just world after one policy course using a pretest and posttest design. Student perceptions changed toward a more supportive government role, but there was no significant change for belief in a just world. The study contributes to empirical evaluation of the social work education policy class in terms of the Council on Social Work Education competencies.